March 5, 2012
I Feel Like A Contestant On American Idol
I'm going to start off by admitting that I came late to the whole American Idol phenomenon. I was not a consistent viewer until last season when Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler showed up. But I think that my decision to watch had less to do with them and more to do with my personal life. At that time I'd been writing for a little while and was seriously pursuing my dream of publication and when I turned on the show, the contestant's stories really resonated with me. I felt exactly what they were feeling, the "I want this so bad that I could just sit right down and cry over it" part and the "I don't know what I'm gonna do if this doesn't work out" desperation. They were me--only they were singing instead of writing. And I couldn't stop watching.
Then, a year later, I got my own "ticket to Hollywood" when my agent asked to represent me. And now I am currently right in the midst of submissions, wading around in a sea full of talent and hoping that the editors will notice me in the midst of all of these other brilliant people. I'm just like the contestants on Idol, trying desperately to stand out and make my dream happen. And it's a scary, fun, crazy place to be. The stakes feel higher because my dream is so close that I can almost reach out and touch it. And yet it still feels tenuous at the same time, like a delicate soap bubble hovering just over my head, threatening every second to pop before I can capture it in my hand. This moment, the one I'm in right now is the most scary of any that have come before. It's strange how that can be. I'm more validated than I've ever been. People in the know have told me I have talent--enough to consider my book and me, and yet I can't be sure it's enough to get me over this last hurdle, not yet.
So how am I handling it?
I'm eating A LOT of chocolate!
AND getting very little sleep.
AND carrying my phone around with me like it's a life preserver or a genie's lamp.
Most importantly, I am trying to get on with the next book and let things play out the way they're meant to. Because even if I manage to somehow get cut from the pack, even if all of the really promising things that are taking place at this very moment don't pan out, I'll still get up and go for it again. I know this. I am a writer. TO MY CORE.
If you're reading this, most likely you are somewhere on your own path to publication--either just starting down the road, or at the midway point and trying to get an agent, or close to the proverbial first finish line, like me, and waiting to see if you'll get picked up by a publisher. Each of these points on the path have their scary moments, their own obstacles. In order to get past the spot you're in and get to the end of the road you have to keep moving. No matter what happens. It's what I plan to do. Because the only way to get where you're going is to rule out turning around as a viable option.
How many constestants on American Idol never come back to try out again after they're cut once? Lots. Only a few take the risk again, even though the judges have told them that they have talent and that sometimes they're decision was a close one. Those who continue to find a way forward get where they're going. Quit and you guarrantee that you will never see what's beyond the path.
It's easier to quit. It's harder to keep going.
But the rewards if you do more than make the trip worthwhile. So no matter what the next few weeks bring, I'm still headed down this path. What about you? I'd love to hear about your journeys and how you've managed to keep going.